First off, let me stress that I am more than happy for anyone who is getting in whatever kind of workout they can. However, I am confronted on a regular basis by a cast of characters in my lane when I'm trying to swim. Here are some pieces of advice I'd like to broadcast, in the hopes that some of those Cowichan Aquatic Centre patrons will heed them.
1 - The end of the lane, in particular right on the black T, is not a convenient place for you and a friend to have a half-hour conversation. That is what the hot tub and sauna are for, or maybe the lazy river. I'm sorry to disrupt your chats with my flip turns.
2 - I'm sure sidestroking is as good a workout as any, but doing it in the fast lane (or even medium lane - let's be real) all the while trying to keep your hair dry and asking me to splash less when I pass you is slightly annoying. Or slightly funny, depending on the mood I'm in.
3 - The black lane along the bottom is to be swum around when sharing a lane and swimming circles. It's not a slalom course marker, and the objective is not to cross it as many times as possible in one length. I'm just saying.
4 - There is a cart with a bunch of kickboards for everyone to help themselves. You don't have to steal mine, especially when I've tried to make it obvious that I'm using it by piling all my stuff on top of it when it's waiting at the end of the lane for me. Plus, I ask the lifeguards to get the "special" ones from the back room that they don't keep on the cart (for whatever reason). If you want a special one, ask the lifeguard too. Yes, there are "special" kickboards. Those who swim at the CAC know what I mean!
5 - I am a terrible breaststroker, but there's one thing I know for sure about it. The goal isn't to make the kick phase as wide as your height and kick other swimmers in their face in the next lane over. I'm pretty sure that messes with the whole "streamline" thing.
6 - If I am swimming faster than you (and believe me, there are plenty of swimmers faster than me!) and we've established that by me passing you several times... the best time to push off from the wall is NOT when I'm about one stroke away from turning.
7 - The signs at the end of the lane mean something, and if you're not sure what they are saying, I'm sure a lifeguard will help you interpret them. For example, "Fast Lane" means you should be moving at least faster than swimmers in the medium lane, not faster than a ball floating on the surface. (Also, see #2). Spend a minute or so checking out the speed of people in the fast, medium, and slow lanes, and then jump into the one you think you belong in. Not simply the lane with the fewest people. And the arrows indicate the direction to swim, it's not a free-for-all interpretation of a zig-zag pattern. (Also, see #3).
8 - Kickboards and pullbuoys are mutually exclusive, not to be used simultaneously. Seriously.
9 - Diving off the blocks while people are swimming circles is frowned upon at the very least (as in: a no-no). I'm pretty sure that's why those orange cones are on the top of the blocks. You know, as an indicator that you're not supposed to use the starting blocks right then, not just move the cone off before you dive in on top of someone.
10 - If your swimsuit is see-through and threadbare, please buck up and buy another one. I don't need to know that much about you! One indication that's it worn out is that it's so loose it flaps around when you push off the wall. If you're not sure, ask a lifeguard - that would be a fun conversation to overhear!